The Three Sisters is a hiking and backpacking route exploring mountain peaks, wilderness lakes and beautiful meadows. There are many natural wonders on this adventure like old growth forests, sink-holes, caves, flowering alpine meadows and limestone boulders.
Difficulty Level: Difficult
Elevation: 7500 feet
Average Time: Approximately 8hrs round trip
Length: 6.5 km to peak
NOTE: There are no services or specific camping areas along this trail.
The beauty of this hike is that you have the opportunity to enjoy the amazing viewpoints offered through the beginning of Heiko’s Trail, including a waterfall, cave and canyon. While a longer hike, the Three Sisters is rewarding to say the least - reaching the highest peak visible from town. The first half of this trail, through an old growth forest is easy to follow. As the trail leaves the forest, the views open up as it enters a meadow and heads west. At the edge of the meadow, near Olivia Creek, there is a primitive campsite. Red triangles on the far side of the meadow mark where the well-defined trail resumes. From the meadow, the trail begins to climb steeply. Take care, as this steep section is slippery when wet. Until the Sulphur Creek basin is reached, the trail continues to be challenging and care must be taken. After this rugged section, the trail enters the meadow at the top of Sulpher Creek, where another primitive campsite can be found. In this area, the trail passes near an area with sink-holes, caves and huge limestone boulders that have tumbled off the shoulder of the Three Sisters. From Sulpher Creek, it is an easy hike up a good trail to the ridge. Once on the ridge, there are fine views down into Fairy Creek and Fernie.
As shelter along the trail is very limited, while on this trail hikers should be prepared for sudden weather changes and pack appropriate extra clothing and equipment.
This trail is typically hikable starting mid-June to late-October, depending on snow levels and early snow falls. You can expect to see some snow in high reaches anytime during the summer season, left over from winter. We recommend calling into the Visitor's Centre to get an update on trail status before leaving.
The trail begins off of Hartley Lake Road at the trailhead for Heiko’s Trail. Starting at the bridge over the Elk River, on the north end of Fernie, proceed east along Hwy 3 for 5.3 km to Dicken Rd. Turn left onto Dicken Rd and proceed for 600m. Turn right onto Hartley Lake Rd and continue on this rough, 2 wheel drive gravel road for 9 km. You will pass Hartley lake, continue and after a few minutes, you will see a couple of old trucks at the end of a 4 wheel drive road. Turn left and drive to the trailhead, marked with a large sign. Be aware that cell coverage is limited in this area.
An alternative route to the Three Sisters is via the Three Sisters Trail. This is best suited to stronger experienced hikers as the trail is less well defined, and you'll be approaching via steep and loose rocky climbs and traverses. The Olivier Creek Road access off Hartley Lake Road requires a 4x4 vehicle with high ground clearance. Drive 5.3 kilometres east on Hwy 3 from the north-east end of Fernie and turn left onto Dicken Road. After 600 metres turn right up Hartley Lake Road (not signed, yard on each side of the road) and drive another 9 kilometres on this windy dirt road pasting Hartley Lake on your left. Olivia Creek will be marked with a FTA trail post on your left side. Proceed along this 4x4 trail for approximately 1.5km until you reach the first clearing. Park here and proceed up the 4x4 road for another 1km on foot until you connect with the Three Sister's Trail.
At 2788m (9147 ft), the Three Sisters is the highest mountain visible from Fernie, making it a popular objective in the area for both hikers and photographers alike. The mountain was officially named the Three Sisters in 1959. Mount Trinity is another name used to refer to the mountain, however, it is rare to hear it called by this name. With regards to the Three Sisters, legend has it that an Indian Chief was enamoured by three maidens and could not decide which one he would choose as a bride. When the elder chiefs asked the gods for their help in making this decision, the gods punished their indecisiveness by turning the young chief into a mountain (Mount Proctor). Upon hearing about this, the grief of the maidens was so great that they asked the gods to turn them into a mountain also – and so became the Three Sisters in Fernie.
As with any trip into the backcountry be well prepared for weather and climate changes. And remember that you are travelling in an area where wildlife is abundant. Be aware of your surrounding, follow the proper safety protocol and respect the environment.